Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls says three of the rail cars that caught fire Sunday afternoon when a trail derailed in his community are still on fire this afternoon.
“Right now they’re dismantling what rail cars that are destroyed, pretty much, getting them away from that fire itself,” he says.
Fears of an explosion were greatly reduced a couple of hours after the train wreck when they found out a railcar they thought was carrying a highly-explosive chemical turned out to be empty.
“Yes, it came in as ammonium nitrate, but the car was empty and we went on from there…We were preparing for the worst and it ended up being taken care of, so at that point it was basically a burn out stage,” Huls says. “But we’re worried more about two other cars that had hydrochloric acid and the other is potassium hydrochloride.”
Huls says the bridge at the crash site has not collapsed.
“It was damaged slightly by the derailment, but the bridge was intact and it had nothing to do with the derailment at least as we know at this point,” Huls says.
Osceola County Emergency Management director Dan Bechler says what actually has been burning is basically gasoline and asphalt, with hazardous materials leaking out of some of the cars. Bechler says hope to get more information soon about the area of southwest Sibley that’s been evacuated and whether people will be allowed back in their homes.
(Reporting by Scott Van Aartsen, KIWA, Sheldon)